Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Power of Prayer

"Prayers go up, and Blessings come down"
-Yiddish Proverb

This has been a pretty crazy year  (when in my world is it not, right?).
Another rollercoaster of a year filled with ups and downs~
However, this year was a lot more bearable during the down times.
I believe this is because of the power of prayer.

Over the past few years, my spiritual life has grown in many different ways, but this was the first year where I felt I truly lived differently.... and could actually see the outcomes.

For the most part, I'm a very independant person. 
I like figuring out new ways of achieving the good stuff, and getting over the bad stuff quickly as possible! 
I also am more of a doer than a talker~ I'm not really one who self-reflects or carefully analyzes a situation: I think about what I should do, what I want to do, or go by how I feel... and I do it.
All of these characteristics about me make me someone who will try to figure out all the bumps in life on my own.

As a Christian, we are taught to bring our troubles to God~ To Believe.  To Trust. To Rely.
But most of the time, I would basically try to take care of things on my own... and when it didn't work out the way I planned, THEN I would pray.
In a way, I lived my life with an "I know what's best for me" or "I'm going to do it my way" attitude.... until the $hit hits the fan and then I'm frantically praying to God for a solution.

This year, I changed a lot.  I prayed. A lot.
When I was having difficulties, I prayed. 
When life was really amazing, I prayed.

Probably the first time I really started praying hard and actually noticing the effects of prayer was when I was in L.A.:  Life in California was amazing and I was so happy to be there.  I truly felt God's presence in my life and was so thankful~ My first prayer was "Thank You: Thank You for protecting and blessing me".
Then my uncle went into a coma while I was in California.  The morning I found out, I was overcome with fear and anxiety.  For the first time, I sent an email to my friends back home asking them to pray for my uncle.  I also met with a friend in L.A. who prayed with me and helped me get through the day.  A few hours into the day, my father called to tell me that my uncle had woken up.  He wasn't completely better (or even completely out of the coma as I would later find out), but I definitely felt the power of prayer that day.

The rest of the year (Back in "New York Neurotic") was tough.  I was having a tough time with the people in my life.  For many reasons (both big and small), I was having problems with my friends~ Many of them.
They would frustrate me, I would frustrate them, There were misunderstandings, feelings of resentment, and just general annoyance.
Usually when I had problems with friends, I would avoid them until things blew over.  I would spend time with other friends until enough time had passed so that we could talk about the situation more calmly or the hurt wasn't as fresh.
Actually, this year, I probably did the same thing....
However, there was one big difference.  I would pray.
- I would pray for myself: If I shouldn't be feeling this way, If I did something wrong, please change my heart.
- I would pray for my friend (whoever it was at the moment), and I would pray for our relationship to heal.
* I found that when I would pray for me and my friends, somehow I would get a desire to talk and work it out quickly (which is atypical for me), or I would be put in a situation where we had to work it out and things would be smoothed over a lot quicker than it used to.
* Even if frustrations with friends weren't worked out soon, I would always feel better after praying.

Soon, I started praying for strangers.  When someone would piss me off (usually involving being in a car~ I get such road rage), I would pray for them.  OK... I MAY have cursed first, but then I tried to pray. 
I would mostly pray for myself to not get so worked up about something so trivial and  to apologize if I acted badly (honking, yelling/cursing). 
- When someone was unneccessarily mean to me, I tried not to take it personally and would pray for them to not be such a jerk (j/k... kinda).
* Whereas in the past, I could let one mean comment follow me throughout the day, it was a lot easier to let go after praying.  I felt so much better and lighter.

I find that the more you pray, the easier it gets.
The more you pray, the more you end up praying about other things.
For me, prayer gives me a feeling of comfort, strength, and peace in a world that can be unstable, mean, scary, and harsh.

I once had a conversation with a friend who asked me how to pray.
I told him it was easy:  The easiest way to pray is to say "Thank You" and "Please".
* People pray when they're in need of help. Prayer is asking for help.
I'm not saying that if you pray for something, you'll always get it:  God is not a genie who grants wishes or Santa Clause.
* Not every prayer is meant to get answered~ But, I do find that if you're suffering (however trivial or threatening the situation may be), prayer can help you deal with the situation much better. 

My father always used to say that there are two parts of prayer:  thanks for the past and asking for the future.
The present connects the past to the future.
He always used to say how one hand is being thankful for how far you've come to this point.  The other hand is asking for help for the future.  When the two hands come together, you have a real prayer.

After a year of praying, I find that I look at situations differently. 
I can now appreciate when things go wrong much better. 
I'm not always praying for things to work out perfectly.  I believe that sometimes, you need to go through the hard stuff in order to grow, learn, and become a better person.
So when those hard times come, I pray that if I'm meant to go through it, to help me get through it with grace, love, and to get through it as quickly as possible!   =D

So if you're not someone who prays, TRY IT OUT.
What have you got to lose? 
If you pray consistently for a while, I truly believe your life will change.

"Pray, and let God worry"
-Martin Luther

"I have had prayers anwered- most strangely so sometimes- but I think our heavenly Father's loving kindness has been even more evident in what He has refused me"
-Lewis Carroll

"In prayer it is better to have a heart without words than words without a heart"
-Mahatma Ghandi

"Prayer does not change God, but it changes him who prays"
-Soren Kierkegaard

Happy Holidays!

*~ Have a Beautiful Day! ~*

1 comment:

  1. Thank you Irene. Beautiful blog. Im blessed to have friends like you -Jane